“Prabhupada: Strawberries they have brought?
Tamala Krsna: Yes, Srila Prabhupada, very nice strawberries.
Prabhupada: I’ll take some strawberries.
Tamala Krsna: You want strawberry juice or plain strawberries?
Prabhupada: Plain.”

Room Conversation — October 9, 1977, Vrndavana

Once the June bearing strawberries had stopped producing it was time to renovate them. I didn’t get to them as soon as possible but soon enough, around July 12th.

The first step was to get out my re-purposed office chair seat and a Armstrong powered trimmer. Which is to say the scissory looking thing that used to be used to trim grass around obstacles using muscle power instead of  a fossil fueled weed eater.

The term Armstrong comes courtesy of  my late father, who when we would ask him questions like how were we going to get those straw bales from the ground in the field up onto the back of the truck would say, “Using an Armstrong loader” which we would assume meant some brand name  Like Farmall or Farmhand like some of our equipment was named.

We would think this right up until we would be standing next to the truck by a straw bale and looking around for the piece of equipment asking where the Armstrong loader was and he would say something like “Attached to your shoulders.”

Using the trimmer I scuttled down the side of the row trimming back plants that had encroached too far into the walkways.  You have to be able to reach the center of the bed when picking.  Note the chair seat and trimmer part way through the task.

Once the edges were trimmed I got out the rototiller and tilled out the center of the bed where the June Berries are, but not w the day neutral ones are, which would be the patch at the end of the bed, you might be able to make it out in the photo. They specifically say to not renovate them and we have learned why.  After doing their June thing, they took a break for a few weeks, but are now faithfully giving us about a pint or so of berries every other day.  That fromless than 10′ (3 m) of row so we are quite happy with them.

I applied a covering of compost and tilled it in well.

The idea is that strawberries produce best on 2nd and 3rd year plants. The first year you pick off the blooms to put energy into the roots.  This was the second year. By tilling out the middle of the row I took out all the mother plants that started the bed which had been planted single file one every 18″(.5 m) down the center of the bed.  The plants at the side of the row will now be the mother plants that will repopulate the center of the row so next year I will have all 2 and 3 year old plants.

Next year I will till out the sides of the bed and leave a thin row of mother plants in the center.  This perpetual renovating way of doing strawberries is called the matted row system.

Here see the runners repopulating the center 19 days after tilling.

I have been through the bed twice with a scuffle hoe keeping the weeds down and will continue to do so until the dauhgter plants grow up enough to form a canopy which makes a shade mulch.  A few weeds will grow through that but observing the bed once a week or so and pulling those weeds means an other bountiful crop of strawberries next year.

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